Disinfo: NATO troops entered Donbas

Summary

Finally, NATO troops entered the territory of Ukraine [Donbas]. It is exactly what they have been dreaming of for a long time, and now they have got this. I think that they will try to gain a foothold here, and then to control the Ukrainian government in order to buy land, ports, factories, nuclear energy – all that hasn’t been already sold in Ukraine. And the guarantor will be foreign troops.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine and NATO. NATO troops did not enter the territory of Donbas. According to the press service of the "Joint Forces Operation", Ukrainian soldiers with experience of service in the UN peacekeeping missions were sent to eastern Ukraine. "Specially deployed Ukrainian servicemen are arriving on the front line of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Most of them have extensive combat experience and were directly engaged in relevant issues during participation within the UN-sponsored peacekeeping missions."

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 207
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/07/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine
  • Keywords: NATO, Donbas
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Ukrainian government launched a military operation against Donetsk and Lugansk in 2014

Armed conflict has continued in southeast Ukraine (the Donbas region) since April 2014, as the Ukrainian government launched a military operation against the two republics (Donetsk and Lugansk) that announced their secession after the coup in Kyiv that led to the overthrow of the government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative painting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup d'état and a conflict between the eastern regions and Ukraine. The war in eastern Ukraine is not a civil conflict but a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014. Furthermore, there was no coup d'etat in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous parts of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim. Read similar cases that the Euromaidan coup led to civil war in Donbas and Luhansk independence trigged a Ukrainian military operation, and that the extreme coup in Kyiv led to the return of Crimea and in addition, that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia and even that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine. Regarding the war in eastern Ukraine, see claims that Ukraine launched a military operation against Donetsk and Luhansk and that the Euromaidan coup led to civil war in Donbas.

US tests COVID-19 vaccine on active servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Recently, the results of tests of a new American vaccine against the COVID-19 virus, which were conducted by American virologists on the territory of one of the medical institutions of the Kharkiv region, became public. Fifteen candidates, including ten members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine infected with coronavirus, were taking part in the practical trials of the drug and vaccine. As a result, five “test subjects”, four of whom were active servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, died.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory, one of many pro-Kremlin narratives concerning the coronavirus pandemic. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence has refuted the claim. It stated that no foreign medical specialists had visited Ukraine’s military in recent months. All soldiers who are ill with the coronavirus are treated exclusively in military hospitals and not in any Kharkiv dispensary. Potential vaccines against COVID-19 are developed by laboratories all around the world. The results of the tests are available to the public. You can see where the vaccine is tested and what the results are here. Read similar cases claiming that Bill Gates warns of an ineffective coronavirus vaccine or that Russia is world's best-prepared country to deal with second coronavrus wave.

Terrorist acts in Ukraine are signs of a new Maidan

Two people have recently taken hostages in Ukraine. One took a hostage on a bus and another took a police officer. Both acts prove that Ukrainian society is angered by economic and political crisis dominating the country. The majority of the population hates the regime and Zelenskyy is not a president with full authority. The real dictators are the US, British, Canadian and Polish secret services, which murdered their opponents in 2014. Many people in Ukraine are threatened openly and they are afraid of standing up to anything. Thus, societal dissatisfaction finds a way to materialize, for instance in the form of terrorist acts.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation about socio-economic situation in Ukraine, Euromaidan and Ukrainian governance. The Euromaidan demonstrations started in Kyiv in November 2013. They emerged organically as a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last-minute U-turn on the highly anticipated EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which had been under negotiation for seven years. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here. Ukraine is a sovereign country. Ukraine's allies are focused on realising and strengthening a stable, democratic, prosperous and free Ukraine, more closely integrated into Europe and Euro-Atlantic structures. Russia is, in fact, violating territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine with continuous acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014. According to World Bank data, the Ukrainian economy grew steadily between 2016 and 2019. Ukrstat states that average monthly income has also increased gradually in past years. The unemployment rate is also down from 10.1% in Q1 2017 to 8.5% in Q1 2020. While the ruling party's popularity is down to 30.7% according to Europe Elects, it is still by far the most popular political force in the country. Thus, nothing suggests that there would be widespread popular discontent in the country that would lead to a series of terrorist acts and a new "Maidan". The two events discussed in the News Front article did indeed take place. A gunman took 13 hostages on a bus in Lutsk and only let the hostages go once President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video on Facebook endorsing a 2005 animal rights documentary. In another, unrelated case, a crime suspect took a police officer captive with a grenade. However, these do not indicate that a new Maidan would be coming.